What is a skydiving multiplane jump?

Skydive LangarExperienced Skydivers, Formation Skydiving

multiplane skydive

As the summer season approaches, we’re excited to host a wide array of events, including a number of skydiving multi-plane jumps. But what does this mean… and how can experienced skydivers get involved?

In short, a skydiving multiplane jump is a jump which involves multiple planes. This allows us to have more people in the sky and to make bigger formations.

In recent years, this has allowed us to set new British records, such as the formation skydiving record set in July 2023 by bringing together 41 formation skydivers using three aircraft.

A multiplane jump can use two or more planes. In World Record attempts, it’s not unusual to see six or more planes working in tandem to enable much larger groups of people to come together in the sky.

Piloting a multiplane jump

The role of the pilot is pivotal to the success of a multiplane skydive. There are general requirements to be met for the safety of the aircraft while the organisers of the jump may have more specific requirements about the placement of the aircraft, depending on what they’re trying to achieve.

As a general rule of thumb, there will always be a lead plane which will be followed by trail planes; in the case of a two plane jump, the lead is on the left while the trail is on the right. It’s common for the organisers of the jump to request the trail plane be one wingspan back, one wingspan across and one wingspan down from the lead plane – thus allowing the skydivers in the trail plane the best chance of catching up to the lead plane jumpers.

Piloting for multiplane is an advanced skill and here at Skydive Langar, we are very fortunate to have a team of exceptional pilots who are well versed and skilled in flying for multiplane jumps.

Multiplane jump by Gary Wainwright

Organising a multiplane jump

There is a lot of skill in organising any kind of group skydive and for multiplane jumps, there are even more skills required – not least the ability to plan who goes in which plane and the order in which they leave.

There are various tools that exist to help organisers to draw the pictures of the formations but there is no substitute for experience in planning a successful jump. The organiser will have to consider who is on the jump, where they fit best into the formation and how to bring the whole team together in the most effective way.

They will also need to manage the team over the course of the jumps, including briefing and debriefing them, plus maintaining a positive working atmosphere and keeping everyone focused and fresh.

What can you do on a multiplane jump?

Multiplane jumps can be done for most skydiving disciplines, providing the skydivers involved are experienced enough to do so and have the skills required to be safe.

Here at Langar, we regularly host multiplane events in formation skydiving and angle flying, or tracking. Our series of Sky Games events brought those two disciplines together by having them share the planes, while other events have been dedicated to their specific discipline to maximise numbers.

In 2024, we also have multiplane freefly events and in the future, look forward to even more.

How can experienced skydivers get on to multiplane jumps?

If you’re an experienced skydiver, the best way, and indeed the only way, to get invited to multiplane jumps is to build experience on smaller jumps first. Once load organisers see you have the skills to perform in single plane jumps, you’re much more likely to be invited to the bigger stuff.

It can be tricky for load organisers to keep an eye on everyone, though. Even at a place like Langar, where we’re so proud of our amazing community, being aware of every single person’s skills within that community is a challenge, especially when there are so many of us. You might in these cases decide to introduce yourself to the load organisers and have videos ready to show them your flying on previous jumps and give examples of your skills.

Another way load organisers can get a gauge on your skill level is to look at how you’ve performed in competition. While not everyone wants to compete, there’s no question that being able to show a strong average or medal placements are a useful indicator of your abilities; check out Dieter Kirsch’s Winter Webinar where he explains how he uses 4-way formation skydiving averages as one criteria for participants on his multiplane events.

Spectating at multiplane events

Even if you’re not at the level to take part, or if you’re not even a skydiver at all – perhaps you’ve come to try skydiving as a tandem or you’re watching someone who is – you can still enjoy multiplane events. It’s easy to spot the planes from the ground and to watch the formations form overhead. It’s also really fun to watch all the parachutes coming in to land and the atmosphere around a multiplane event all round is a really good buzz.

You can find out about all the events coming up at Langar this season here.